“What is a good subscription or conversion rate for an opt-in form?”

I smiled when one of my clients emailed me this question almost word-for-word because I’ve Googled similar phrases in the past and read all sorts of articles where people talked about their conversion rates.

I went around in circles trying to answer this question.
It was frustrating.
I thought there should be a clear answer but there wasn’t.

I concluded that other people’s conversion rates are interesting (but distracting) factoids, but they end up being meaningless for a few reasons.

Sometimes a blogger or webinar speaker would only talk about the increase in their conversion rate, e.g. “By making these copy changes we increased our conversion rate by 300%!”. (Er, from what to what? And was the increase permanent or simply a short-term result of there being a change?)

Even if they did state their conversion rate outright, there were so many factors behind the scenes which would influence these things such as when, where and how the form appears and what the form offers, says and how it looks. These are the things we normally look at when we see other people’s conversion form stats.

But it’s even more complex than this.

It’s also all about who is visiting the page that the form is on. There’s “bad” traffic that you don’t want to convert – people coming to your site for the wrong reasons who would never be your customer and of course spam traffic too.

If you’re getting a large proportion of your traffic who have already subscribed (a good thing that they’re coming back), then you will have a low conversion rate too (which could look like a bad thing).

If the traffic is really targeted, then your conversion rate should be higher. By targeted I mean as a result of a marketing or ad campaign or funnelled in through another page which filters off the people who aren’t interested.

In the end, you’re competing with yourself: your past results and working to improve those (both in getting better traffic and having better offers).

Tracking your results and incrementally working to improve them is what matters, not other people’s stats.

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